By The Weekly Vision Team
All is not well in the office of the Attorney General with reports emerging of a serious power struggle between AG Justin Muturi and Solicitor General Shadrack Mosse. There are also fears that powerful forces within the Kenya Kwanza administration are keen to kick Mr Muturi out of office as AG.
Sources have also told The Weekly Vision that all is not well between President Ruto and his AG, with the president’s inner circle blaming Mr Muturi, who is the government’s legal advisor, for losing sensitive cases in court. There is a strong feeling among the president’s advisers that Mr Muturi has failed to competently and effectively advise the president. As a result, the president has initiated moves to take powers away from Mr Muturi’s office and transfer them to his Chief of Staff, Felix Kosgei. In a recent move, the president proposed to take away the AG’s role as the custodian of the public seal through a bill that is currently before Parliament. Impeccable sources say the bill was drafted without the input of the AG, who is the government’s legal advisor.
Last week, Mr Muturi was again exposed when he engaged in a spat with the Public Service Commission over the appointment of parastatal CEOs. Mr. Muturi wrote to the Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi, stating that the PSC has no powers to regulate human resources in parastatals.
According to sources, the letter was a reaction by Muturi and a request after the PSC wrote to MPs to reject a proposed amendment to give the Attorney General powers to hire and promote state counsels.
Muturi had proposed, through the Office of the Attorney General Act 2022, to give the AG powers to appoint a Deputy Solicitor General and state counsel. PSC, in their communication to MPS, claimed that Muturi was acting in bad faith and went on to reveal that he had gone ahead to hire staff in his own office without the input of PSC.
The matter has generated political heat, with Muturi claiming that some civil servants are plotting to sabotage his office, and PSC, in a quick rejoinder, has claimed that any staff hired by the AG without the input of PSC will not be included in the PSC payroll. The PSC, in a letter to the AG, claimed that no constitutional or statutory provision gives the AG authority to recruit or promote officers in the office of the AG.
To prove just how frosty the relationship between President Ruto and AG Muturi has been, almost all bills before parliament today are without his input, even though he is the government’s legal advisor. Sources say President Ruto’s allies prefer the drafting of bills be handled by the Solicitor General.
There are also whispers that the bad blood between the president and his AG is a result of Mr Muturi’s very close links to retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, who made him the Speaker of the National Assembly in 2013. Uhuru Kenyatta’s links with Muturi date back to their heydays in Kanu, when Ruto led a section of Kanu members to join ODM. Muturi remained in Kanu as the Secretary-General, with Uhuru as the chairman. Uhuru went on to make Muturi the minority whip in the National Assembly.